Bulldogs late rally falls short

Published 10:52 am Monday, April 3, 2023

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If Hampton’s 12-10 loss to Mitchell County (N.C.) on Friday night were to be given a name, it would be, “The night the lights went out in Hampton” or “Hard Rain” and both would be correct. The Bulldogs pitching surrendered just four scattered hits but also included nine walks, three hit batters, seven wild pitches and four passed balls.
Going into the third frame, no one had scored as senior lefthander Brody Hicks had given up just one hit while walking one and striking out two, but a light rain turned into a steady driving rain and Mitchell took advantage, drawing two walks along with three hit batters and two wild pitches to plate six runs on just one hit – a two-run double by shortstop Alex Street.
“We are starting four freshmen and a sophomore, so we are going through the inevitable growing pains of learning how to play varsity high school baseball,” Bulldogs head coach Nicholas Perkins said. “When you do that, some of the lessons are painful, but the main thing is learning from mistakes.”
Mitchell County starter Jace Blanton pitched well through five innings, giving up two runs on three hits with seven strikeouts and four walks. The Bulldogs (3-6 overall) scored two runs in the fourth with Maddux Wilson drawing a one-out walk. A wild pitch moved him to second and a run scoring double by Jamie Turbyfill brought him around.
Turbyfill moved to third on a passed ball and scored after a walk to Josh Whitson and Blanton uncorked a wild pickoff attempt to make it a 6-2 contest. Chance Point came on in relief of Hicks in the fifth for Hampton but he walked the first two batters he faced and a throwing error and a passed ball allowed a run to score. A second passed ball scored another run and Street delivered another run scoring hit as the Mountaineers took a 10-2 lead.
In the sixth Mitchell Co scored two more runs against the third pitcher of the game for Hampton Jayden Kuhn to take a 12-2 advantage and were looking at a mercy rule ending but the ‘Dogs had other ideas.
The bottom of the sixth saw Noah Nichols, Josh Whitson and Point each collect a base knock bringing home one run and Johnathan Greenwell drove in a run with a single as Hampton drew to within 12-6.
In the last of the seventh, Turbyfill walked and Nichols was hit by a pitch, but Whitson hit into a double play that scored one run. Point kept the rally going with a base hit to put runners on first and second and Hicks drove in a run with a single to put runners on second and third and Kuhn hit a ball into the gap in right-centerfield to plate both runners but Kuhn was thrown out trying to extend the hit to a double and that was the ball game.
In the top of the fifth, there was a 23-minute delay as two banks of lights went out and in the sixth, it happened once again but the game managed to be concluded with a wild finish and if Kuhn had been safe at second or stuck at first base the tying run would have come to the plate and it would have been Greenwell stepping in.
Mitchell County 12-10
Mitchell Co 006 040 0 – 12 4
Hampton 000 204 4 – 10 11
W – Blanton L – Hicks
2B – Street

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